Charles Fourier  

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"In support of these two words, insolvency and cuckoldry, the greatest social infamies, bankruptcy and adultery, are found at the level of virtues, since they enjoy compound protection, namely: tacit and negative tutelage of the law, express and positive tutelage of public opinion."--Manuscripts of Fourier, English translation JWG

"FOURIER is to be ranked among those bold and original geniuses, like Columbus, Copernicus and Newton, who open new paths to human science, and who appear upon the stage of the world to give it a new impetus, and exercise an influence , which is to be prolonged for ages."--The Social Destiny of Man (1840) by Albert Brisbane

"Fourier wrote three works of importance. The first is the one already mentioned, “La Théorie des Quatre Mouvements et des Destinées Générales” [...] The four movements were social, animal, organic, and material, giving us society, animal life, organic life, and the material world. The object is to show that one law, that of attraction, governs them all. Newton discovered the law of one movement, the material; Fourier, that this same law of attraction pervaded all four movements. [...] This work was considered incomplete by Fourier himself, and the fantastic notions and ridiculous prophecies contained in it were the subject of so much ridicule and criticism that for a long time he would not mention the book, and was unwilling to hear others speak of it."--French and German Socialism in Modern Times (1883) by Richard Theodore Ely

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Charles Fourier (1772 - 1837) was a French socialist and philosopher. An influential thinker, Fourier is credited with coining the word féminisme in 1837; as early as 1808, he had argued that the extension of women's rights was the general principle of all social progress.

Fourier promoted free love, inspired communism, situationism, 1960s countercultures and Hakim Bey.

He was the subject of a study by Roland Barthes Sade, Fourier, Loyola (1971), is mentioned in André Breton's Anthology of Black Humor (1940) and has a whole convolute dedicated to him in Walter Benjamin's Arcades Project.

He is also the author of satirical texts such as "The Hierarchy of Cuckoldry".


Fourier and free love

Sharing the free love ideals of the earlier social movements, as well as their feminism, pacifism and simple communal life, were the utopian socialist communities of early 19th century France and Britain, associated with writers and thinkers such as Henri de Saint-Simon and Charles Fourier in France and Robert Owen in England. Fourier, who coined the term feminism, argued that true freedom could only occur without masters, without the ethos of work, and without suppressing passions; the suppression of passions is not only destructive to the individual, but to society as a whole. He argued that all sexual expressions should be enjoyed as long as people are not abused, and that "affirming one's difference" can actually enhance social integration.

Contemporary influence

Fourier's work has significantly influenced the writings of Gustav Wyneken, Guy Davenport (in his work of fiction Apples and Pears), Peter Lamborn Wilson, and Paul Goodman and probably influenced the Italian boss Adriano Olivetti in the management of his electronics company.

In Whit Stillman's film Metropolitan, social idealist Tom is described as a Fourierist, and debates the success of social experiment Brook Farm with another of the characters.

David Harvey in the appendix to his book 'Spaces of Hope' (Edilia, or 'Make it what you want') offers a personal utopian vision of the future very alike to Fourier's ideas.

Also William Morris see, 'Political Writings of William Morris' ed. A.L.Morton (London: Lawrence and Wishart, 1979)

Communities inspired by Fourier


Fourier's views inspired the founding of the community of Utopia, Ohio; La Reunion near present-day Dallas, Texas; the North American Phalanx in Red Bank, New Jersey; Brook Farm in West Roxbury, Massachusetts (where Nathaniel Hawthorne was one of the founders); the Community Place and Sodus Bay Phalanx in New York State, and several other communities in the United States.


Fourier's works

  • Fourier, Charles. Théorie des quatre mouvements et des destinees generales (Theory of the four movements and the general destinies), appeared anonymously in Lyon in 1808.
  • Fourier, Charles. Oeuvres complètes de Charles Fourier. 12 vols. Paris: Anthropos, 1966-1968.
  • Jones, Gareth Stedman, and Ian Patterson, eds. Fourier: The Theory of the Four Movements. Cambridge Texts in the History of Political Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1996.
  • Fourier, Charles. Design for Utopia: Selected Writings. Studies in the Libertarian and Utopian Tradition. New York: Schocken, 1971. ISBN 0-8052-0303-6


  • Sur les charlataneries commerciales, Lyon, 16 p., 1807
  • Théorie des 4 mouvements et des destinées générales, Lyon, 1808
  • Le nouveau monde amoureux, 1816 (première publication 1967)
  • Traité de l'association domestique-agricole, 2 volumes, Lyon, 1822
  • Théorie de l'unité universelle, 1822-1823
  • Sommaire et annonces du Traité de l'association domestique-agricole, Paris, Londres, 1823
  • Mnémonique géographique ou méthode pour apprendre en peu de leçons la géographie, la statistique et la politique., Paris, 1824
  • Le Nouveau monde industriel et sociétaire ou invention du procédé d'industrie attrayante et naturelle, distribuée en séries passionnées, Paris et Londres, 1829
  • Le Nouveau monde industriel, ou invention du procédé d'industrie attrayante et combinée, distribuée en séries passionnées. Livret d'annonces, Paris, 1830
  • Pièges et charlatanisme des deux sectes SAINT-SIMON et OWEN, qui promettent l'association et le progrès., Paris, 1831
  • La fausse industrie morcelée répugnante et mensongère et l'antidote, l'industrie naturelle, combinée, attrayante, véridique donnant quadruple produit, 2 volumes, Paris, 1835-1836
  • Plan du Traité de l'attraction passionnelle, qui devrait être publié en 1821, Paris, 1836
  • PostSriptum à la Lettre confidentielle des membres de la réunion du 31 juillet..., Paris, 1837
  • Œuvres complètes, 6 vol., Paris, La Phalange, 1841-1845
  • Manuscrits, 10 volumes, Paris, La Phalange, 1845-49
  • De l'anarchie industrielle et scientifique, Paris, Librairie Phalanstérienne, 1847
  • Manuscrits - 4 volumes, Paris, Librairie Phalanstérienne, 1851-1858
  • Hiérarchie du cocuage, Paris, Éd. Du siècle, 1924
  • Le nouveau monde amoureux, Paris, Anthropos, 1967
  • Œuvres complètes, 12 volumes, Paris, Anthropos, 1966-68
  • L'ordre subversif. Trois textes sur la Civilisation, Paris, Aubier Montaigne, 1972
  • Le charme composé, Paris, Fata Morgana, 88 p., 1976
  • Hiérarchie du cocuage, Ed. Analatyca, 77 p., 1990
  • Citerlogue, accord de la morale avec les droits naturels par absorption composée, Paris, Fata Morgana, 88 p., 1994
  • Le nouveau monde amoureux, Paris, Stock, 515 p., 1999


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